Leadership Skills for Teenage Boys: Insights from Missouri Military Academy Young Alumni

Leadership Skills for Teenage Boys: Insights from Missouri Military Academy Young Alumni

Empowering young people with leadership skills helps improve self-confidence and self-esteem. Leadership skills also helps improve communication, collaboration and problem-solving. Not all middle school and high school students may aspire to be leaders, but all kids benefit from learning leadership skills: Leadership is a core value at Missouri Military Academy (MMA).

MMA places a significant emphasis on leadership development within the curriculum, inside and outside the classroom. Through a combination of rigorous training, hands-on experiences and mentorship, cadets learn about leadership while putting their skills to practice with real-life scenarios.

In a recent survey of young Missouri Military Academy alumni, 85% of respondents responded that leadership training was one of the most valuable aspects of their military educational experience. This statistic reflects the effectiveness of military schools in cultivating leadership qualities among teenage boys.

The MMA young alumni survey was conducted with cadets who have graduated in the last five years. When asked the question: “What aspects of your MMA experiences positively benefited you?” most respondents — 85% — indicated that leadership training was among the most beneficial aspects.

Character development and friendships (brotherhood) were closely ranked second, both being indicated by 80% of participants as highly beneficial.

Instilling self-discipline in boys

"I am far more disciplined and less selfish than my peers," John Murphy, MMA Class of 2020, reported in the survey, looking back on his MMA experience three years after graduation. Murphy’s sentiment underscores the transformative power of a structured environment. Military schools’ emphasis on discipline not only shapes behavior but also cultivates self-awareness, a crucial trait for effective leadership. By instilling self-discipline, military boarding schools like MMA equip young men with the tools to manage their impulses and make thoughtful decisions.


John Murphy is a senior at the University of Missouri, studying journalism. 


Providing the foundation for boys’ success

"It gave me the keys to be successful," says Rene Garcia Garza, MMA Class of 2022, revealing how his MMA experience provided a comprehensive skill set that extends beyond academics. The leadership training and experiences gained in military school environments provide young men with a solid foundation upon which to build their futures. This foundation includes communication skills, decision-making abilities and a strong work ethic — essential elements for any aspiring leader.

College-preparatory military boarding schools, such as MMA, focus on leadership development to help young men fulfill their potential. "MMA drastically helped prepare me for college and life after the Academy,” says Noah Royse, MMA Class of 2020.

While military schools excel at nurturing discipline and leadership skills, it's important to note that the transition to less structured settings may be an adjustment. However, this transition also provides an opportunity for alumni to adapt and apply their leadership skills in a variety of contexts.


Noah Royse, a senior at Oklahoma University, was recently accepted to graduate school and will pursue a degree in global affairs with a concentration in international security. 


Teaching resilience in the face of failure

"MMA showed me a very structured approach to preparing for any challenges that might come my way, such as tests or interviews,” says MMA Class of 2019 graduate Zeth Colin. “The other item(s) that MMA showed me, which I didn't realize till after graduation, was what to do when you fail at something."

This highlights a key aspect of leadership: resilience in the face of failure. Military schools not only teach young men how to succeed but also how to persevere when faced with setbacks. This capacity for resilience is a hallmark of effective leaders.


Zeth Colin, a college senior, is working towards his bachelor's degree in business intelligence and data analytics and minoring in entrepreneurship.


Enduring impact for boys' success in life

The perspectives shared by alumni of the Missouri Military Academy illustrate how military schools and military academies play a pivotal role in nurturing leadership skills among teenage boys. These reflections highlight the enduring impact of a structured environment on shaping discipline, responsibility and resilience — traits that are vital for effective leadership in any domain.

While the benefits of military academies are evident through these alumni voices, it's important to recognize that individual experiences can vary. The decision to enroll your son in a military school should be informed by careful consideration of his personality, goals and preferences. By doing so, parents, educators and young individuals can make choices that align with their values and aspirations while harnessing the transformative potential of a military education.

For those who do attend military academies, the lessons learned within extend far beyond the classroom, influencing the way these individuals approach challenges, make decisions, and interact with others in various aspects of their lives.

Click here to learn more about how boys learn leadership at MMA.

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